Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Melia azedarach

Higher Taxonomy
Family: MeliaceaeView Description 
Habit: [(Perennial herb), shrub] or tree; wood hard, often aromatic. Leaf: generally alternate, often clustered near stem tips, generally odd-2-pinnate, bases generally swollen; stipules 0. Inflorescence: panicle [raceme or umbel]. Flower: generally bisexual, radial; sepals generally 3--5, fused at base or not; petals generally 3--5, free [or +- fused at base or to filament tube]; stamens generally 8--12, filaments generally fused; disk generally between stamens and ovary; ovary superior, chambers generally 2--5, placentas axile, style generally 1, stigma generally head-like, lobed. Fruit: generally drupe. Seed: many, often winged or with an aril.
Genera In Family: +- 50 genera, +- 550 species: tropics, subtropics (some temperate). Timber, including mahogany (Swietenia).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: MeliaView Description 

Common Name: BEAD TREE
Leaf: deciduous, petioled. Inflorescence: panicle; flowers many. Flower: white or purple; sepals generally 5; petals generally 5; filament tube 10--12-lobed at tip (lobes sometimes further divided), anthers 10--12; pistil surrounded by, +- = filament tube, ovary chambers 5--8, style +- as wide as ovary, stigma.
Etymology: (Greek: ash tree, from leaf shape)
Unabridged Reference: Miller 1990 J Arnold Arbor 71:453--486
Melia azedarach L.
Habit: Tree, < 10 m. Stem: branches broadly spreading; bark furrowed. Leaf: +- 20--40 cm; 1° leaflets +- 5--9; 2° leaflets generally 5--7 per 1° leaflet, 2.5--5 cm, ovate to lanceolate, toothed. Flower: white to lilac, fragrant; sepals +- 2--3 mm; petals +- 5 mm, oblong; filament tube +- 5 mm, purple, aging black. Fruit: 10--15 mm, spheric, yellow. Seed: 1, bony.
Ecology: Washes, riparian areas, coastal scrub, or persisting near old habitations; Elevation: < 1280 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnFrB, SCo, SnGb, SnBr, PR; Distribution Outside California: native to southeastern Asia, northern Australia. Flowering Time: Mar--Jul Note: Fast-growing, used in reforestation; fruit pulp mildly toxic; seeds used for beads.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Elizabeth McClintock 2012, Melia azedarach, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 20, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 20, 2024.

Melia azedarach
click for enlargement
©2010 Barry Breckling
Melia azedarach
click for enlargement
©2010 Barry Breckling
Melia azedarach
click for enlargement
©2010 Barry Breckling
Melia azedarach
click for enlargement
©2010 Barry Breckling
Melia azedarach
click for enlargement
©2009 Barry Breckling

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Geographic subdivisions for Melia azedarach:
SnFrB, SCo, SnGb, SnBr, PR
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).